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“ And finely wrought, and round, and ample was the tent,
Cloth of surpassing wealth the tent disclosed to view,
Around the tents were painted the months of the year, some of whose attributes are curious. Dan January had his eyes wandering every where; he was surrounded with ashes and wooden logs. Dan February warmed his hands amidst storms and sunshine. Dan March watched his vineyards, equalled the days and nights, and stimulated birds and beasts. April summoned his armies for the fight, advanced the harvest, and lengthened the days. May came crowned with flowers, scattering rainbow-tints over the fields, singing to the nymphs of love, and preparing for the harvest. Dan June ripened the grain, and filled the trees with fruit, and brought on the hotter sun. July drove the sweat down the cheeks, let loose the tormenting flies, and took away the bitterness of the fresh grape. Dan August obeyed the first orders of autumn, and gave sweetness to the grape, September propped the walnut-trees, prepared the wine presses, squeezed the grape, and drove the birds from the figs. Dan October went forth to labour and to sow for the approaching winter-he tasted in his way the new fermented wine. November gathered the acorns for the swine, and watched them beneath the oak-he watched in the twilight, for the days are short.
December killed the swine, the mornings are covered with dark mists-- this is the time of constant frost.
These are sufficient specimens.--The character of the composition defies regular criticism.
It will have been remarked, that hitherto Castillian poetry had little variety of versification. The next name that occurs, Juan Ruiz, the archpriest of Hita, introduced several new and
harmonious measures. Ruiz appears to have been a native of Alcala de Henares, and to have flourished about the middle of the fourteenth century. He was imprisoned by the command of the celebrated Cardinal Gil Albornoz, archbishop of Toledo, probably for some of the manyindiscretions recorded in his poems, and which are certainly little consonant with the ecclesiastical functions. He indeed proclaims his innocence, though he does not state what were the accusations against him, and implores the Virgin to turn upou his slanderers the weapons they had used : but the indecorous and licentious character of many of his compositions, give but too much reason to believe that his life was most impure. He throws the blame upon the stars, and says
he was born under the influence of Venus, and but the child of destiny-a melancholy apology at best, and one which, if seriously preferred, was never seriously attended to by the judges of error, or the arbiters of punishment.
He proposed to himself to exhibit not only the varied metres of which his language was susceptible, but to introduce that poetical spirit which, if it was sometimes exhibited before, often slept through long and weary pages, so that it is impossible to master the works of his predecessors, but for some object of criticism or historical research. By them, sympathy is seldom excited, and that curiosity must be of the most eager character which will toil through the prosaic labours of those who aspired after nothing sublime or glorious. It was enough for them to give the form of verse to the subject of their thoughts. A rhymer and a poet were almost synonymous and transferable terms. Ruiz had a higher ambition; his
and festive imagination played alike with the weapons of wit and irony, jested and moralized in turn, wandered from the house of mourning to the house of feasting ; while he availed himself, as it pleased him, of the low gibe, the vulgar proverb, or the sublime and sententious eloquence of holy writ. The archpriest is, in a word, a very ardent and amorous gentleman-rather gross at times for a divine a great admirer of Ovid, and especially his De Arte Amandi—but with many redeeming virtues, and a constantly returning sense of shame and duty. To his works he has made a variety of saints and sages contribute—he has blended a number of ingenious fictions, apposite illustrations, and moral deductions. The representations of the profligacy of the clergy of his day, are as just as disgraceful. The agent of his intrigues, he calls Dona Trota Conventos, (Dame Convent-haunter): the very title is a volume of satire. He is most liberal in the latitude allowed to others, especially to those of his own profession, and he quiets his own conscience by the lessons of wisdom that his pen conveys. He is an advocate for the divine right of kings and popes to break laws as well as to make them, and he proclaims any demur to this principle to be open rebellion against God himself. Perhaps the most curious of his productions, is the battle of Mr. Carnal (Carnival) with Mrs. Lent, the idea of which he seems to have taken from the Batrachomyomachia : beasts and fishes are drawn out in mortal combat, which ends in the total discomfiture of the former. The holy cause triumphs—Mr. Carnal is condemned to fast—to be shut up in solitude, unless in case of illness or repentance, upon one spare meal of fish a day. The poem is full of humour and sprightliness. The work which Ruiz has principally consulted, is a Latin poem on Love, in hexameters and pentameters, by Pamphilus Mauritianus: it is a drama in five acts. The arch-priest has interwoven most of its sentiments, and introduced all its characters. He has, however, changed their names; but he owns his debt to the monkish libertine, and puts upon him the burthen of his own licentiousness :
“ And if I have been gross, unfurl your kind forgiveness o'er me, For Pamphilus and Ovid told what's most impure before me.'
We must not be understood as admiring the specimens of the arch-priest's poetry, with which we shall conclude. We have endeavoured to preserve the characteristics of the different styles of composition, and think their variety will interest our readers. The moral sentences, which we have chosen without much attention, possess considerable merit in our eyes.
“ This is man's duty, this is wisdom's test,
“Si villania hé dicho, haya de vos perdon
Que lo feo del estena dis Panfilo e Nason.”
Libertad è soltura non es por oro complado.” g Esta en los antiguos seso è sabiencia
Es en el mucho tiempo el saber e la ciencia.”
“ The wise man murmurs not, when murmuring,
As a curious elucidation of the habits of the fourteenth century, we give a pastoral adventure. It has the air of truth, and a little too much of the ruggedness of simplicity.
“ I never, never, shall forget
I met her on the mountain side,
Yes ! in this thicket; sometimes woe
I smiled; the mountain-maiden brave,
*“ El sabio gravemente non se debe quejar
Quando el quexamiento non le puede en pro tonnar
Debelo cuerdamente sofrir è endurar.”
Que de un grano de agras se faso mucha dentera
She hurled it at my head. I fell
Next bade me stay, then offer'd food,
Fool, knave, why call me to the wood ?
Siempre se mo vernd miente
Ala fuera desta aldea la que aqui he nomblado
Radio ando, Serrana en esta grand espesura
Enviome la cayada aqui tras el pestorejo
riso Yot mostraré, se non ablandas, como se pella el eriso Sin aqua et sin rosio.”
por ti el vaque